Balochistan is again on red-alert, and this time the reason is not the Baloch Liberation Army but the deadly Covid-19 or the Coronavirus which has already claimed six lives in neighbouring Iran.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Saturday called up Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and discussed with him the coronavirus spread in Iran and its implications on Balochistan. Kamal informed PM Khan that he is personally supervising the efforts to check the deadly virus does not spread into Balochistan.
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, the deadly virus also called named COVID-19, has killed over 2400 people in China. The outbreak surfaced in Iran on Wednesday when authorities reported one more death among 10 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the Islamic Republic to six — the highest of any country outside the Far East.
Tehran ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural centres as the death toll soared to five along with 10 new cases. The latest cases take to 28 the total number of confirmed infections in Iran. The deaths are the first in the Middle East region and the highest number of fatalities outside the Far East.
In Balochistan, “special teams have been constituted for safety and precaution against coronavirus, while all district headquarters hospitals have been directed to stay vigilant,” Chief Minister Kamal told the PM Khan, according to media reports.
“Most of the cases in Iran are either Qom residents or have a history of coming and going from Qom to other cities,” its spokesman said. Iran has yet to confirm the origin of the outbreak, but one official speculated that it was brought in by Chinese workers.
“The coronavirus epidemic has started in the country,” state news agency IRNA quoted the health ministry’s Minoo Mohraz as saying. “Since those infected in Qom had no contact with the Chinese… the source is probably Chinese workers who work in Qom and have travelled to China,” she added.
This puts not only Balochistan but entire Pakistan at risk. Post the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the number of Chinese people travelling and working in Pakistan has dramatically increased, says a health experts talking to the EurAsian Times. Pakistan must screen everyone coming from China or recently arrived in the country to ensure the deadly virus is detected before it creates havoc like in Iran.